Hot Club of Detroit | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Hot Club of Detroit 

When: Fri., Aug. 17, 9 p.m. 2012
Price: $12
If you name your band after the Quintette of the Hot Club of France—the famous group led by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, which in the mid-30s created the first distinctly European spin on jazz—then people are going to expect you to play music in the same style. Sure enough, since forming in 2006 the Hot Club of Detroit has mostly done just that: its discography bustles with brisk examples of what the French call "jazz manouche," whose fiercely swinging, drummerless sound is flush with fleet unison lines and high-velocity solos. But the group has also steadily broadened its aesthetic, whether by dabbling in bossa nova or by tackling relatively modern repertoire like "Nostalgia in Times Square" by Charles Mingus and "Seven Steps to Heaven" by Miles Davis and Victor Feldman. On their new album, Junction (Mack Avenue), they blow the gates wide open, welcoming in wild-card New York saxophonist and Chicago native Jon Irabagon (Mostly Other People Do the Killing) and sultry singer Cyrille Aimée (who hails from Fontainebleau, France, the town where Reinhardt died). The Hot Club of Detroit seems intent on shaking things up, whether with the brisk, slightly funky postbop of Irabagon's "Goodbye, Mr. Anderson" or with the Naked City-esque crosscuts between jazz manouche and free-improv chaos in "Chutzpah." Like all of the band's work, Junction is a mixed bag—the treacly post-ECM pop pastoralism of "Song for Gabriel" (as in Peter Gabriel) is a drag, and the Django-ification of Phish's "Rift" is just dopey. But you have to give them credit for trying new things—and for sometimes pulling them off brilliantly. Tonight's lineup includes guitarists Paul Brady and Evan Perri, accordionist Julien Labro, new bassist Shawn Conley, and new saxophonist Andrew Bishop, who plays on three cuts on Junction. —Peter Margasak



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